HE Shared Legal is a national shared legal guidance and support service for the UK higher education sector.

HE Shared Legal provides ad hoc legal guidance to subscriber institutions in relation to individual enquiries.  In addition, we circulate generic guidance in the form of a regular newsletter highlighting legal developments of relevance to the sector.  We also offer a legal services consultancy service, which is available to all HE institutions.

Newsletter Issue 95

Governance: Disclosure of criminal allegation and acquittal in the context of an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate;
Employment: TUPE – HMRC now applying NMW penalties to new employer; TUPE – ‘transfer of economic entity’ and ‘administrative reorganisation’; Menopause policies and employer support; Victimisation and bad faith;
Procurement: House of Commons Library briefing paper published;
Charity: Code of Fundraising Practice;
FAQ: Contracts – Do under-18s have capacity to enter into contracts? Read Full Article…

Governance: October deadline for publication of plans under British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015

The British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015  (the ‘Act’) came into force in October 2015.  The Act aims to promote the use and understanding of British Sign Language (BSL) through the use of ‘National Plans’ to be published by the Scottish Ministers, and ‘Authority...

Governance: UUK issues good practice briefing on student contracts

Universities UK (UUK) have published a briefing which aims to look at the development of student contracts and set out good practice recommendations.  According to UUK, the briefing builds on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consumer law advice for higher...

Employment: Pension and gender change certification requirements

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that, in requiring a transgender person to annul their marriage, entered into before changing gender, in order to be entitled to a state retirement pension (SRP) at the statutory pensionable age provided for those of the...

IP/IT: UKIPO response to consultation on Trade Marks Directive 2015

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has published a response to its consultation on the implementation of the Trade Marks Directive 2015 (the Directive).  The consultation sought views on proposed wording of the  Trade Marks Regulations 2018 (the Regulations)....

Newsletter Issue 94

• Governance: UUK issues briefing on student contracts; Publication of plans under British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015; Parking (Code of Practice) Bill 2017-19; Terms of reference for review of Modern Slavery Act 2015
• Employment: EAT- employee on zero hours contract can be an agency worker
• Data protection: ICO calls for views on data sharing code of practice
• Charity: changes to automatic disqualification rules for England and Wales
• FAQ: Commercial agreements Can an electronic signature be used to sign formal legal contracts under the laws of England and Wales?
Read Full Article…

Newsletter Issue 93

The issues we have covered in this edition include:

IP/IT: UKIPO response to consultation on Trade Marks Directive 2015
Data protection: European Parliament seeks to end EU-US Privacy Shield
Charity: IoF and Fundraising Regulator joint guidance on GDPR
Procurement: Light touch regime, transparency and moderation meetings
Commercial agreements: Early termination and force majeure
Equality: Supreme Court – pension and gender change certification requirements; GEO opens consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004
FAQ: Governance: Is there any guidance on the new Package Travel regulations Read Full Article…

Employment: Whether certain self-employed persons were ‘workers’ with statutory rights

Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Smith [2018] UKSC 29 is a Supreme Court case that was very widely reported in the media in June. It considered when individuals who are not employees engaged under a contract of service (and who are fully protected by employment...


Frequently asked questions

What is HE Shared Legal?

HE Shared Legal is a shared, non-profit-making, legal guidance and support service for HE institutions throughout the UK.

What does HE Shared Legal do?

There are three main elements to our work:

  • Shared, “in-house” legal service – providing guidance and support with (ie generally, answering) specific legal enquiries in the manner of an in-house lawyer
  • Generic guidance – publication of regular newsletters and FAQs on a wide range of legal topics of relevance to HEIs
  • Legal services consultancy – assistance and support with the selection, engagement, instruction and,if required, ongoing monitoring of external legal advisers

What is the significance of the ‘in-house’ aspect?

As far as possible, HE Shared Legal works with institution representatives on a friendly, informal basis, as if the HE Shared Legal lawyer was physically embedded within the institution concerned. We also endeavour to establish a strong working relationship with the relevant HEI managers and a sound understanding of the institution and its approach to governance, risk management, etc.

What areas of law are covered?

The service deals with nine broad areas of law, as follows:

  • Employment
  • Property
  • Charity
  • Environmental
  • Commercial Agreements (including procurement law)
  • Banking and Financial Services
  • Corporate and governance
  • Tax, insurance and pensions
  • Intellectual Property and IT law

Are there any other aspects to the work of HE Shared Legal?

In addition to the three main elements described above, the service also offers the following:

  • Preliminary transaction and case planning
  • Trouble shooting
  • The conduct of joint projects
  • The development of standard procedures and documents

What are the limits to the HE Shared Legal service, ie what does HE Shared Legal not do?

The service has no mandate to deal with the following:

  • Provide professional legal advice, with the benefit of legal liability (as opposed to informal, legal ‘guidance’ and ‘support’)
  • Represent institutions in relation to dealings with third parties
  • Conduct cases or transactions, although preliminary case/transaction planning is provided

Where support of this nature is required, HE Shared Legal will be happy to assist with the selection and engagement, on competitive terms, of suitable specialist legal advisers.

Who are the typical users of the service?

The service may be used by any nominated representative within a subscriber institution. Typically, the users of the service will be senior managers from one or more of the following disciplines:

  • Finance
  • Commercial
  • Governance
  • HR
  • Estates
  • Registry
  • Procurement

When did the service start?

The service opened for business on 1 May 2012.

How many institutions have joined the service?

There are currently nineteen subscriber institutions, located in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How is HE Shared Legal funded?

Having been funded initially by HEFCE grant, the service is now financed by subscription fees from subscriber institutions.  We also offer legal services consultancy to other HEIs and relevant sector bodies.

How much is the subscription?

The current subscription fee is £9,200, exclusive of VAT, covering the period of twelve months from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018. There are no additional usage or other charges.

How is the service staffed?

There are four members of staff – all lawyers (of whom three are qualified in Scotland as solicitors, one is currently unregistered, and one is also qualified to practise law in Greece).  All four lawyers have a predominantly commercial background, which is suited to the ‘business to business’ character and ‘employer-side’ role of much of their work.

What legal form does the service take?

HE Shared Legal Limited is a company limited by guarantee, managed by its Principal Lawyer, who is the managing director of the company.  The company is planning in the longer term to convert the service from a subscription basis to a full VAT cost sharing group or some other suitable structure involving a measure of ‘ownership’ by the subscribing institutions.

Finally, what are the main benefits of the service?

The principal benefits of a subscription to HE Shared Legal are as follows:

  • Ready access to experienced legal resources at low cost
  • Potential to achieve substantial savings on external legal fees
  • Assistance with development of good practice and assurance
  • Access to sector-wide intelligence and contacts on legal issues
  • Part of the HEI ‘corporate armoury’

For further information, please contact HE Shared Legal on 0141 237 5880 or enquiries@hesharedlegal.ac.uk.